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Nasal congestion affects the well-being and quality of life of millions of Canadians, in both winter and summer. Find out how to relieve it.
A congested nose affects the sound of a voice, the ability to breathe and sleep, as well as comfort and well-being. Most people will experience this typical cold symptom several times a year.
Nasal congestion is generally caused by the presence of excessive nasal secretions combined with the swelling of numerous small blood vessels in the nose. Thus, nasal passages narrow and become blocked by secretions.
It can* be due to various factors such as:
First, an attempt should be made to identify the cause of congestion in order to eliminate it. For instance, in the case of an allergy, exposure to the allergen should be avoided. In the case of a sinus infection, the use of an antibiotic may be considered. In the case of a cold, only time can resolve the problem, as there is no treatment against this type of viral infection (caused by a virus).
Decongestants are the most commonly used medications for nasal congestion. Most of them are sold without a prescription in oral or topical-form. You should always speak to a pharmacist before using them. These medications are not suitable for everyone, and their use is not recommended for children under the age of six.
Topical decongestants can be habit-forming when they are used too long. Their use must be limited to a maximum of five consecutive days. Other medications can be used for nasal congestion, depending on the cause. For instance, a nasal corticosteroid in a spray format can be beneficial for people who have seasonal allergies.
During at least the first year of life, babies are incapable of blowing their noses. This "skill" is generally developed later on. Meanwhile, babies and parents must deal with the harsh reality of a small stuffed-up nose. Nasal congestion can cause a child discomfort in several ways, including by compromising their ability to sleep and eat.
That is why, during early childhood, it is key to ensure that their small noses are clear and that they can breathe freely. Parents must turn to drug-free options to relieve their little one's symptoms.
For additional information about it, read this text.
Don't hesitate to speak to your pharmacist for information about nasal congestion and the ways to relieve it.
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